Thinking of starting afresh somewhere? You might want to consider a country where there’s no council tax and a 30% tax allowance for expats.
I thought that might have got your attention. However, Amsterdam is not only a good move for your pocket, it’s also good for your soul.
In 2014, I took the decision to move to the Amsterdam area, expecting to stay for a year or so. More than two years later, I continue to find new evidence to support the feeling that this is where my future lies.
I can’t help but feel I made the move at just the right time, what with Britain voting to leave the European Union. That’s nothing against the decision made by the people back home, but it might not always be as easy to move here as it was for me.
It’s still too early to say whether Brexit will have an effect on freedom of movement, but it’s feasible that there will be significant restrictions for Brits on living and working in other EU countries. At the moment, of course, you don’t need a visa to work in EU cities like Amsterdam.
However, it would be wrong to tout Amsterdam as an immigration opportunity, just because you can make the move with relative ease. So let’s look at the key evidence for what makes the Dutch capital a great place to live and work.
1. Greater disposable income
It seems gauche to make the first point about money, but let’s be honest, it is probably the biggest influencing factor in where we move to, country or otherwise.
I touched on it at the start of the piece, but the Netherlands operates a 30% tax ruling for highly skilled migrants, meaning that if you meet certain conditions, like possessing expertise that is scarcely available in the Netherlands, your employer is allowed to pay you 30% of your salary as a tax-free allowance.
The cost of living in Amsterdam is also cheaper, on the whole – certainly cheaper than its British-capital counterpart. According to the Expatistan website, cost of living in Amsterdam is 19% cheaper than in London. Housing is a whopping 26% cheaper in Amsterdam compared to London.
Just think of the experiences that greater disposable income could bring.
2. Better work/life balance
At Talent, we have always made efforts to make sure our staff can maintain a healthy work/life balance, be that sending them home early on a Friday or allowing them time to go to the gym. However, we can’t speak for all businesses.
Here in Amsterdam, though, that’s very much the norm. Everything is geared towards a healthy work/life balance. According to Swiss banking group UBS from last year, workers in Amsterdam work 33.20 hours a week, or 1,726 hours per year – that’s 165 fewer than the global average and less than the mid-afternoon siesta takers in Madrid.
On the matter of work/life balance, Mother Nature Network says: “It seems we have two options: move to Holland, or learn from their successes and bring some of Holland home. Work less. Live more.”
3. It’s built for business
The New York Times recently claimed that Amsterdam is the city most likely to inherit the mantle of Europe’s financial capital from London, in wake of Brexit. Now, it might have been a bit hasty to suggest London is on the demise, but it also highlighted Amsterdam’s credentials as a business hub.
That’s if it needed to. Amsterdam already plays host to the European headquarters of tech disrupters such as Netflix, Tesla and Uber, who sit alongside home-grown successes such as Booking.com, Guerrilla Games and WeTransfer.
According to Anton Valk, chairman of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce, Amsterdam is the ideal place for firms to “take the first steps to see how they can scale internationally” – especially British companies, with 90% of Dutch people adept in speaking English.
As well as its big business credentials, Amsterdam is also emerging as a leading tech hub, with more than 800 start-ups now located in the Dutch capital, says StartupAmsterdam.
So what are you waiting for? If you think that’s a bit direct, that’s just how we do things here – you get used it and actually makes for greater productivity, I find.
While the Dutch people are more to the point, they are a largely chilled bunch, too. I put that down to living and working near water – it has a calming effect. The lack of cars on the road helps, too, with that. A cycle along the Amstel river is a great mood leveller. Although the challenge of getting a week’s worth of food shopping on a bicycle is one that I’m still working on… it’s a nice problem to have.
If you’re looking for a new role in Amsterdam, get in touch today!